Macaroni & Cheese
If the name macaroni & cheese conjures up images of cafeteria ladies in hairnets doling out gluey lumps of bright orange pasta, try this vegetable-rich version instead. Serve this creamy pasta gratin with crusty whole-wheat Italian bread, an arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette, and pears poached in white wine.
  • 2 large red bell peppers, cut lengthwise into flat panels
  • 8 ounces small pasta shells
  • 2-1/2 cups small cauliflower florets
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 cups low-fat (1%) milk
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat broiler. Place bell pepper pieces, skin-side up, in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan and broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until blackened all over. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling water for 7 minutes. Add cauliflower and cook until pasta is al dente and cauliflower crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain in a colander,  set aside.

3. When peppers are cool enough to handle, peel and transfer to food processor. Add garlic, cayenne and mustard, and process until smooth.

4. In large saucepan, whisk together milk and flour, and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until lightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Whisk in red pepper puree, 1/2 cup of Cheddar, salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Gently fold in cauliflower and pasta.

5. Transfer mixture to a 7- x 11-inch baking pan, sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar and Parmesan on top. Bake 35 minutes, or until browned.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 427 calories, 13g total fat, 7.9g saturated fat, 3.6g monounsaturated fat, 0.9g polyunsaturated fat, 5.2g dietary fiber, 22g protein, 56g carbohydrate, 38mg cholesterol, 637mg sodium.
Good source of: beta-carotene, calcium, folate, indoles, selenium, vitamin B6, vitamin C.

Date Published: 09/19/2005 > Printer-friendly Version

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